When Wessington Springs resident Joyce Krueger spotted Ted and Elke Zepter alongside two-well-equipped, packed-to-the-brim bicycles at a restaurant in Mitchell, SD last month, she couldn’t resist the urge to ask them what they were up to.
“Me being me, I just walked up to them and asked if they were touring the United States on their bikes,” Krueger said with a laugh. “They smiled and quickly answered, ‘no we are touring the world.’”
Through further discussion, Krueger discovered that the couple — Ted, who is semi-retired and Elke Zepter, a Physical education teacher — hail from a small German village between Berlin and Frankfurt and have been flying, bussing and biking around the world since August 2018.
The lively conversation continued, leading to the topic of a “little town they were headed to for the night.”
“Wouldn’t you know, it ended up being Wessington Springs,” said Kruger.
After they parted ways, Krueger headed back to Springs for a meeting that ended up going later than expected. When she drove by the campground to see if the German cyclists had arrived, they had already set up camp and retired for the night.
“I left a note on their tent inviting Ted and Elke for breakfast the next morning,” Krueger said. “They came up to my house for a big breakfast of pancakes, oatmeal, french toast and fruit.”
After fueling up at Krueger’s house, the trio headed to Shakespeare Garden. During their time together, Krueger learned that the Zepters began their journey in August 2018, departing from their homeland and biking into France and throughout Spain. They then traveled across the Strait of Gibraltar by ferry to Morocco, continuing by bus and plane to Madagascar and landing in Thailand to spend Christmas where they were joined by their family. They then toured across New Zealand, Australia, and several countries in South America. The journey took them to Key West, FL and from there, they made their way to South Dakota, mainly by bike.
After touring Wessington Springs, the well-traveled pair mounted their bikes and headed to Huron, SD to visit an exchange student they had hosted in Germany. After time spent reconnecting in Huron, they headed east on a bus tour to Niagra Falls, then biked into New York City. Later this month they will fly to Oslow, Norway then travel back to Germany just in time for Elke to head back to work — no doubt with countless stories about their adventures around the world and a sweet story of Midwestern hospitality at its best from Wessington Springs.